Nadine is a byproduct of today’s teenagers. Industry legend James L. Brooks (”Terms of Endearment,” “The Simpsons”) read the first draft of Craig’s script and urged her to meet with teens to inform the characters’ emotional cadence. Craig, 36, then spent six months interviewing and observing high schoolers across the country. Despite the advent of social media, she realized nothing about growing up had changed since she graduated.
“I stepped foot back on a high school campus, and immediately every emotion I had came flooding back, just the insecurity and the awkwardness,” she said. “The hang-ups all had to do with the same hang-ups everybody always had: feeling judged, feeling like you’re scared to let your guard down and be your true self, that everybody is pointing and laughing, just feeling out of place generally, feeling alone in a crowd.”
So, Craig revised the script, hoping to capture the spirit of “Say Anything…,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Swingers.” She also hoped the experience would prove more encouraging than her previous film. The screenplay for the 2009 romantic comedy “Post Grad,” starring Alexis Bledel, bears Craig’s name, but, in her eyes, the results look nothing like what she wrote. Studios doing what they please with scripts is a common Hollywood anecdote, and that realization convinced Craig to try to direct the next project herself.
“It’s definitely incredibly painful to see something that you’ve worked really hard on and fallen in love with, and then it’s not what you had envisioned,” she said. “I think the big learning thing for me there is just that movies require such an exacting hand.”